LAHORE: Pakistan and South Africa agreed upon are keen to building partnership and focus on enhancement of trade & economic relations between the two countries during a meeting between the High Commissioner of South Africa in Pakistan Mpendulo Jele and the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Ijaz A. Mumtaz here on Wednesday. The LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Nauman Kabir also spoke on the occasion.
The South African High Commissioner said that there was much scope for improving the economic relationship between the two countries. He said that South African businessmen were well aware of the investment opportunities exist in various sectors of economy in Pakistan.
He said that there were many sectors that could be focused for trade enhancement. He said that Pakistan can certainly benefit from the South African expertise.
He informed the participants that a number of Pakistani companies have already successfully invested in various parts of South Africa.
He said that South Africa is rich in mineral and other natural resources and investors are encouraged to set up their manufacturing plants in South Africa. “We offer many attractive incentives to investors and more importantly, South Africa is regarded as a gateway into Africa”
He said that role of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry was important in attaining the objectives of improving the total bilateral trade and to increase investment opportunities.
He stressed the need for joint efforts so that the trade and economic relations between the two sides could be built on sustainable basis.
He said that Pakistan has a tremendous potential for South African businessmen but they could not make any inroads because of unavailability of proper trade related information.
He said that both Pakistan and South Africa could increase economic cooperation in Mining, Steel, Auto, Chemical and Plastics, Engineering and Technology.
Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that the exports of Pakistan to South Africa are not picking up for the last three years. The average level of exports is reeling just around US$ 280 million.
He said that the level of bilateral trade is constantly dipping whose main reason is constant decline in imports from South Africa to Pakistan. We need to make efforts to arrest this trend and turnaround the trade patterns. If both the countries succeed in taking some strong initiatives then it is not difficult to take the volume of two way trade to US$ 1 billion mark in a couple of years.
Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that in order to achieve said goals, both the countries have to rely on their own resources and create more opportunities for trade. Both Pakistan and South Africa possess good potential to enhance cooperation in multiple fields of business and economy.
The LCCI President said that the continent of Africa offers a huge market to Pakistani businessmen for enhancing trade and investment. South Africa being the most modern and leading country of Africa can become trading hub for Pakistan. It can be made possible with your cooperation and guidance.
The LCCI President said that there also exists a great scope for joint ventures between the two countries. Pakistani industrialists can set up textile units in South Africa to cater to the African market. There are ample opportunities of investment for Pakistani businessmen to invest in information technology, mining, agriculture and other sectors also when Chinese and Indian companies are capturing South African market.
He said that exchange of trade delegations between the two countries and holding of single country exhibitions in each other’s countries can prove to be an effective strategy for increasing our bilateral economic relations. They also called for creating a strong linkage between the Chambers of the two countries for this purpose and for exchange of trade related information.
He also paid tributes to the High Commission of South Africa in Pakistan for extending best cooperation to the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry.